A few years back Rosco were faced with a problem. With the rise of off camera flash use, many photographers discovered the free Rosco sample gel pack. What began as a service for studio owners and stage managers, soon turned into an “unlimited” supply of gel packs for photographer. Of course being a business Rosco could not continue and supply the world with free gels (impacting both their own operation and creating a shortage with paying customers). Rosco dealt with this situation pretty cleverly, creating the Strobist Gel Pack along with David Hobby. It was a very cool kit at a very affordable (~$10) price. It was one of those things that never left my camera bag (we did a short fun review here) we reviewed it here (and here).
While the kit was a great solution to a real problem, it was not a polished product. And this is what Rosco are fixing today. We met Frank Lambrechts, product manager for Rosco and he explains the change for us. Rosco Gel Packs are what strobist kit what might have been Rosco had more time to think about a solution rather than being overwhelmed by demand and needing to come up with a quick solution to satisfy the market.
The Small: Rosco Gel Pack
Ask anyone what their most hated feature of the previous Strobist Collection pack and you get one of the following: – We hate how the packaging forces to fiddle around finding the gel and the everything always falls out of the blister anyways. Or with the new bigger heads, the gels are not big enough. Bigger = Better – The new Gel Packs are significantly bigger 1.5″ x 5.5″ vs. 1.5×3.25″ so they can wrap around a strobe’s head. This was an issue with some of the bigger heads if you used a rubber band and tacked the gel on either side of the head. Now the pack comes with two small bands that you can use to mount the gel on the strobe. Bye Bye Blister – the new packaging is nothing fancy but it solves all the issues with the previous package in an elegant way. The gells are compartmentalized in small cardboard pockets and are accessible from the top. That means you can easily browse the package, and pull out (and bring back in) any of the gels. I really hated that blister. More options – The original strobist kit remained unchanged in terms of colors (so it contains the same 55 sheets in 20 different colors). But three more packs were added to the mix: CalColor™, Beauty and Digital After Dark® kits providing more specific pack for light painting, glamour shooting and primary/secondary color calibration. They are selling for $24.95 which is a bit higher than the old strobist kits, but the extra comfort is definitely worth it.
The Big: Rosco Filter Kits
The idea of the filter kits is similar to the Gel Packs only more bigger (I know, I know). There are 8 different sets, some are similar to the flash packs and some are new. THose will fit on bigger studio heads, or other big light. I am including the full list, as it it a super set including the smaller packs as well. They are a bit more expensive, selling for between $30-$50 depending on the pack.
- Photo Lighting: The essential lighting filters to balance and compose light for photography, including: CTO’s, CTB’s, Neutral Densities and a variety of effects colors.
- Beauty: A selection of subtle color filters that have been hand-picked by fashion photographers to beautify, soften and enhance skin tones.
- Color Effects: An assortment of the most popular color filters for creating a wide variety of common lighting effects, including a range of subtle tints and a collection of vibrant hues.
- Color Correction: A set of specialized filters that balance common light sources in a shot, including different densities of warming and cooling and filters that add or remove green.
- CalColor™: Rosco’s Academy Award® winning system of calibrated lighting filters produce pure primary and secondary colors to enhance your composition.
- Digital After Dark®: A collection of colored lighting filters to create dramatic nighttime photos, selected by Kevin Adams, founder of the “Digital After Dark®” blog.
- Diffusion: A collection of materials that affect the character, shape and quality of the light and shadow in a composition.
- Cinegel Sampler: A selection of Rosco’s Academy Award-winning Cinegel line, including a range of color correction filters for balancing common light sources and diffusions for softening shadows, or altering the direction and spread of the beam.
The LitePad Vector
At the beginning of the interview Frank demos a new Litepad. For those unfamiliar with the technology, a Litepad is an LED panel but it is using a slightly different tech than the regular panels. Instead of using a flat array of LED pointing forward, the litepads use an array of LED positioned around a sheet of glass. The light is thrown forward by little grooves in the glass. The light coming from those is dreamy soft (we’ll be reviewing one soon) and because there are no individual LEDs, there is no multiple shadow effect on undiffused light. The litepads that I use need to be balanced with gels, but the new Litepad Vector can go all the way from daylight to tungsten (and as Frank points out, you can always gel it a bit more). Light intensity has been dramatically increased. It does not show on film, but the light output on it can easily complete with any similarly sized LED panel. Sadly no price on those yet.